Sumac Space was founded in 2020 as a non-profit platform presenting contemporary art from the Middle East through digital programs, critical writing and research. Devoted to the Middle East and its thriving contemporary art, we work with artists and curators, who address contemporary urgencies in the context of the challenging social and political circumstances of the region. Seeking new ways of experiencing art through digital modalities, Sumac Space experiments with rethinking the existing forms of art presentation and looks for meaningful uses of digital communication to meet, to relate, to be together. By experimenting with different methods, we search for ways to stimulate subjective imagination and critical relation against the currents of the attention economy and incessant excess of digital representation.
Alongside exploring our programs, such as digital Exhibitions, Sumac Space invites viewers to explore Artists’ Rooms and Dialogues.
Artists’ Rooms are digital architectures curated entirely by artists themselves that are here to allow for connecting with the artists’ thinking process and research, beyond actual artworks. We believe that art practice is so much more than final works and therefore our aim is to disclose what is formative and proliferates artists’ practice on different levels. If Artists’ Rooms is primarily a space for viewing and contemplating relations between different artifacts and subjects, Dialogues is a place for being vocal. Here, authors and artists get together in conversations, interviews, essays and experimental forms of writing. We aim to create a space of exchange, where the published results are often the most visible manifestations of relations, friendships and collaborations built around Sumac Space.
At the core of our programming and publishing approach is our aim for different voices to be heard. We believe in the irreplaceable role of artists in re-imagining and shaping our pasts, presents and futures and that they must have a public place for their research and diverse forms of expression. Therefore, gradually building a community of artists, curators, researchers and writers, we invite diverse voices to actively participate in forming Sumac Space through curating exhibitions, writing texts, presenting work in progress and conveying conversations with each other. Collaboration and collective study are qualities we are proposing, not as themes and theoretical concepts but as unconditional ways of working.
Artists’ Rooms are spaces for the multitudes present in artistic practice and yet may not be visible in the artworks: music, images, poems formative of our thinking, subjects that inspire and let us learn, objects that are with and within us. We encourage artists to reveal these belongings, essentials owned and yet not possessed.
Artists’ Rooms show the things to which artists connect in moments that cannot be put on an agenda and ways that might not be possible to express in linguistic categories – marginal thoughts standing and moving between personal lives and artistic practice without needing to be positioned, and insights from ongoing training and the creative process itself. Whether their form of dwelling is permanent or temporary, an Artist Room is a place where they can be seen.
There are no rules. Each Artist Room is open for the artist to present what they wish, to create connections, to reveal ways of seeing and to make them visible to a viewer. An Artist Room is open for revisiting, editing and changing, and it can also be used as a space for propositions that might never develop into artworks. Modestly furnished or opulently decorated, hijacked, loopholed, flooded with noise, accommodating assemblages as well as architectures, the Artists’ Rooms are here for the artists to present their interests differently than through the finished artworks.
Sumac Space Dialogues presents diverse forms of research and writing on artistic practices from the Middle East. Our Dialogues aim to stimulate interaction and polyvocality and encourage thinking and speaking close to one another across physical distance and means of expression. As a space of free thought and experimentation in form and content, the Dialogues explore the compatibility of languages of art and digital media and how authors can connect and relate to artworks presented online.
Alongside our primary focus on artists from the programs of Sumac Space, we welcome contributions that have not yet been published on the web and explore or relate to the works of artists from the Middle East in general.
We encourage authors, who have not yet had an opportunity to publish to do so with us. Each contributor is free to decide about the form and content of their contribution, and experimental or hybrid formats are welcome alongside the more traditional ones. We consider every proposed contribution as a unique and individual piece that deserves attention. Therefore, we select our contributions and proposals on a case-by-case basis, rather than following predefined guidelines and rules.
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The Dialogues section of Sumac Space is a platform for stimulating interaction and polyvocality, which encourages thinking and speaking nearby one another across physical distance and means of expression. Dialogues is a space of free thought and experimentation in form and content, where the common ground and linking subject are the artists presented in the exhibitions at Sumac Space, and the contemporary urgencies they respond to. Proposals from emerging writers, artists and curators who would like to try new and not-yet-tested strategies in working with text and image in relation to art are particularly welcome. Sumac Space invites writers, curators, critics, researchers and thinkers to engage with the work of contemporary artists from the Middle East. Responses through research, contextual and visual essays, interviews, poetry, audio, video and hybrid formats are welcome. Each contributor is free to decide about the form and content of their contribution, while receiving full editorial and English proofreading support. The following means of expression are encouraged: Contextual and visual essays Interviews and conversations Curatorial texts Reviews Stories and mind maps using any combination of words, images and sounds Curated reading lists Audio and video responses Please send your proposal (maximum 200 words), a few words about yourself […]